Shaun Murphy marked a triumphant return to the season with victories in all three matches at the BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition at the Morningside Arena, Leicester live on Viaplay Xtra in the UK, and broadcasters worldwide including Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Poland, and the Netherlands and Table 2 live on Matchroom.Live globally.
The Players Championship victor took Group 4 by storm, defeating Andrew Pagett to nil, before a tense 3-1 win over Lukas Kleckers to close the early session.
A table-topping decider followed against Welsh Open semi-finalist Tian Pengfei. The Chinese potter had accrued two victories himself over Pagett and Kleckers – meaning the winner of Wednesday’s final Table One match qualifying for Winners’ Week.
With the Magician only needing a point to secure passage, by virtue of Frames Lost, Murphy’s fate was sealed in the third frame following a break of 67 to become the 15th top seed to reach the second week. Three wins in three matches – the perfect start to the new season.
Sanderson Lam brought an impressive display Group 12 – finishing the day with seven points after wins Zhang Anda and Jamie O’Neill. Leeds native Lam had also drawn 2-2 with Table 2’s headliner Barry Hawkins.
Former World Grand Prix winner Hawkins’ 3-1 win over Jamie O’Neill, coupled with Lam’s results meant the Hawk required a 3-0 victory in his final group match over Zhang Anda, or a 3-1 win with a break over 97 to stand a chance at beating Lam for qualification for Winners’ Week.
Leading 2-1, a break of at least 98 was required in the final frame for progression through the group. A sticky situation in a cluster of reds on 62 forced an attempted double into the middle pocket, but failure to pot meant Lam would be the man returning to Leicester next week.
The penultimate day of stage 1 sees David Gilbert fight for a place in Winners’ Week, commencing on July 17, against Yuan SiJun, Sean O’Sullivan and Ishpreet Singh Chadha. Group 31 will also be settled, with Cao Yupeng, Lyu Haotian, Ian Burns and Steven Hallworth fighting for supremacy.
Watch BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition on Viaplay Xtra – FreeView in the UK and Ireland. Those in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland can watch live on Viaplay whilst Matchroom.Live is available to those without a broadcaster. See where to watch here.
The BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition carries a first prize of £33,000 and the winner also securing a spot in the 2023 Champion of Champions set to take place in Bolton from November 13-19 live on ITV.